My Way News reports that in Dardenne Prairie, Missouri that:
“City officials unanimously passed a measure Wednesday making online harassment a crime, days after learning that a 13-year-old girl killed herself last year after receiving cruel messages on the Internet.”
As this is a tragedy, who can enforce this well? It is punishable by $500 dollar fine and 90 days in jail. How could you distinguish who was joking around and who was serious?
Even if you could, by the time you go to court for this and someone hangs them self, you have spent a lot of taxpayers money tracking who the person is and getting enough evidence.
My condolences go out to the family, but as I and many of my readers have spent a lot of time on these social networking pages, you can’t take them that seriously.
Sometimes we get caught up in the moment and we don’t realize that there isn’t a law that is going to bring this girl back. If you are serious about it and you want to put the burden of the girl’s death on this guy, the punishment would have to be a lot worse.
Harassment is already a crime. I am worried that this is going to give the government probable cause to check our emails, IMs, and social pages.
This is on a small scale is what happened with the Patriot Act. We saw a tragedy and our nationalism let us let our government invade our privacy. While I have in the past supported the international call monitoring, we have to be very careful that we don’t let the costs exceed the benefits. AKA let the government expand their program to domestic calls.
The other argument goes that if you are doing everything right then you do not have to worry about it. People are infallible and you don’t know what hurts some and not others.
“The four-page measure defines both harassment and cyber-harassment, essentially making it illegal to engage in a pattern of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to suffer “substantial emotional distress,” or for an adult to contact a child under 18 in a communication causing a reasonable parent to fear for the child’s well-being.”
Who decides what “substantial emotional distress” truly is?
My Solution: Treat harassment as harassment. Teach your children to know what to get away from and what to avoid. If it gets out of hand and it spreads or get worse, parents should let your kids know it’s okay to come to you.